The Co-op Bank returned to profit in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020 as mortgage balances increased by 6% to hit £1bn. 

The Bank also reported a mortgage pipeline going into the second quarter of 2020 of £2bn.

Nick Slape, Co-operative Bank chief executive, said: “I am encouraged by the Bank’s financial performance in the first quarter, achieving a small underlying profit – an important first step towards sustainable profitability from 2021.

“We have delivered a resilient performance by maintaining our focus on income generation, simplification and by reducing our operating costs.

“Our retail business continues to grow, with net residential lending increasing by 6% in the quarter with a strong pipeline.”

The results also revealed that investment firms JC Flowers and Bain Capital Credit had bought stakes in the Bank subject to regulatory approval.

It had previously been rumoured that the pair had been in talks to but BlueMountain Capital’s holding in the Bank.

The deal will see the pair acquire a roughly 10% stake in the Bank but the value of the deal has not been disclosed.

Tim Hanford, head of Europe for JC Flowers, said: “We now look forward to partnering with them to take advantage of some of the opportunities available in this post-Covid UK banking environment.”

When Sky News reported on the deal sources claimed that it suggests that JC Flowers and Bain could push the Co-op to start buying some of its rivals.

Sainsbury’s Bank is currently on the market whilst it is expected that TSB could also be put up for sale in the future.